Hewlett-Packard claimed victory yesterday in its acquisition bid for Compaq, claiming the preliminary results indicate shareholders have approved the deal.

Walter Hewlett, lead objector to the deal and son of HP co-founder William Hewlett, denied the claim, saying the vote is still too close to call. The difference in the preliminary vote is less than one per cent, a spokesman for Hewlett said yesterday.

“Based on preliminary estimates, we believe we have received sufficient votes to approve HP’s merger,” said Carly Fiorina, CEO and chairman at HP. “We of course acknowledge this is not a final vote.”

“A decisive majority of shares not affiliated with HP family and foundations voted in favour,” she said.

HP tallied early proxy votes prior to the Tuesday shareholder meeting, Fiorina said, adding that the company expects only a small percentage of votes to trickle in from the day’s voting here.

Vote difference is "razor thin" Before HP claimed victory, Walter Hewlett, himself an HP board member, issued a statement saying he remained optimistic about the vote. Hewlett then countered HP’s claim, saying the difference in votes was “razor thin” and the official outcome was unclear.

“We stand by the statement that the results are too close to call,” Hewlett said. “It is simply impossible to determine the outcome at this time.”

Official word on the vote is still not expected for “a few weeks,” HP said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. Independent vote-counting firm IVS Associates will reveal the decision.

“It was definitely a cause that needed to be taken up,” Hewlett said. “Regardless of the final result, today is clearly a victory for HP shareholders and all shareholders. Together we have demonstrated that accountability to stockholders is not a platitude.”